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Sarasota expands outdoor dining options for restaurants

A new permit allows eateries to have seating in designated parking spaces.

SARASOTA, Fla. — Sarasota leaders created a new temporary outdoor cafe permit to help local eateries adhere to social distancing guidelines.

County commissioners voted last week to allow for an expansion of outdoor space for local restaurants and businesses. 

Under the new permit, restaurants can expand or add new outdoor seating to follow CDC recommended guidelines and allows seating to be set up in designated parking spaces. 

Local restaurant owners can apply for the permit for free under "Form M2" on the city's website. You can also pick up a physical copy in the first-floor lobby of the City Hall Annex on 1565 First St. 

The city says its goal is to process applications as quickly as possible, and some could be processed in as little as 24 hours. 

Sarasota is the latest city to expand seating arrangements for local restaurants. Both Tampa and Clearwater have closed portions of roads to allow for eateries to sit and service people on the street. Pasco County also approved an expansion of outdoor seating options. 

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